The result of a lengthy process of evaluation and refinement of the collections, the Springfield Museums have deaccessioned objects from the holdings and are partnering with Christie’s Auction House to offer the objects at auction this fall. Proceeds from the sale of these objects will support the Museums’ commitment to equity, diversity and access through future art acquisitions of works by women artists, artists of color and under-represented artists as well as support the care of collections.
As part of the Museums stewardship responsibilities, Springfield Museums staff continually review collections to evaluate condition, duplication, relevance and exhibition potential. Objects that do not fit the criteria are recommended for deaccessioning, or removal from the Museums’ collection. All deaccessioning recommendations must be approved by both the Museums Committee and the Board of Trustees. Funds from the sale of deaccessioned items are used to purchase objects that advance the Museums’ strategic goals and assist in the expenses related to the care of collections.
On September 21, 2021, Christie’s Japanese and Korean Art Sale will feature 60 prints from the Bidwell Collection, of the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. And on September 23, 2021, Christie’s Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art will offer 77 objects from the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum. The Springfield Museums Board of Trustees unanimously approved of the deaccessioning and sale of the objects.
The Springfield Museums, located in the heart of the downtown, is the largest cultural attraction in western Massachusetts. The five museums—the Springfield Science Museum, the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, and the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss—offer visitors a wide variety of exhibitions and programs in art, history, science, and Seuss throughout the year.
The two Art Museums were both founded by local private citizens—the GWVS Smith Art Museum in 1896, and the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts in 1933. The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum represents one of the oldest and best examples of collecting in America during the Gilded Age. It was celebrated at the time by museum experts and philanthropists such as Andrew Carnegie, who called it “the finest single collection” he had ever seen. The Smith Museum houses an outstanding and broad collection of Chinese, Japanese, and Islamic decorative arts, arms and armor from the Middle East and Japan and American 19th century paintings. At the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, visitors enjoy an overview of American and European art, including paintings, prints, watercolors and sculpture. The Museum also houses a comprehensive collection of Japanese ukiyo-e prints and one of the largest holdings of Currier and Ives lithographs in the country.